Saturday, February 4, 2012


This week I did things differently. I am weakened by tonsillitis (so much for not getting sick anymore - the stress of the last few weeks has taken its toll) and still going to work, so I am forced to slow down at home.

Instead of my early-morning starts at the pool, I had longer, slow mornings at home and drove to work later and availed of the park-and-ride facility at the college, so I didn't have to worry about parking. I left my bed unmade two days in a row (unheard of previously), let the sink fill with dirty dishes, and instead of tackling projects I am working on I watched DVDs (I rarely buy DVDs - I prefer renting on iTunes - but I bought Mildred Pierce and think it is something I might watch several times) and had baths with Dead Sea salt by candlelight while listening to music. The new Tori Amos album, a 21st-century song cycle inspired by classical music that deals with a dying relationship, is set in Ireland and draws on mythology and the power of the sea. I hadn't listened to her in a while, as I found some of her more recent albums a bit disappointing compared to her earlier work, but now I am immersed in her music; it has been the perfect soundtrack to the last few days. I also love the Kate Bush album, especially the eponymous track. Both CDs have beautiful book-style packaging.

This week has reminded me that a lot of the pressure I perceive in my life is in my head. Even though it is very busy at work right now, there were so many other things I felt I should be doing, but being sick has made me realise that nothing is that important or urgent. I know I will get back into my usual routine, but I intend to carry the knowledge that I could live with fewer self-imposed aims and deadlines with me into the busy-ness that lies ahead.

| Speaking of slowness, today Matt made the curry laksa from Yotam Ottolenghi's comfort food recipe cards that came with the Guardian a couple of weeks ago - it was one of the best meals of my life, so fresh-tasting (lots of coriander and lemongrass). The ingredient list looks a bit daunting, and you have to continuously stir the spice paste you make at the beginning for 20 minutes, but it is so worth it - and stirring something this fragrant is hardly a chore, more of a scented meditation.


  1. So sorry to hear you're ill (I know a good handful of people with tonsilitis at the moment, strangely), but it's good to see that you're taking the time to indulge in getting well again. Illness can be a therapy in itself sometimes.

    "stirring something this fragrant is hardly a chore, more of a scented meditation" - I totally agree!

  2. Curry laksa and Tori Amos album are now on my weekend list to do to look after myself after a very hard week.
    Hope you feel better very soon.
    PS. I love the way you write :)